February 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – February 2021

Thanks to Hinsdale staff who have demonstrated a tremendous focus on our joint commitment to provide Hinsdale students with the best education possible in this incredibly trying time. Our teachers and paras have been incredibly patient as they have tried to make our options of in-person learning as well as remote learning work for every student. Also, thanks to our administrators who are dealing with many more issues than usual.

Thankfully, we expect to receive federal grant allocations to cover all our expenses related to our effort to provide quality education in the middle of a pandemic. We have received $188,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act.  We have also received $101,000 from the Public School Response Fund Grant. On the 29th of January we learned that we will be receiving $857,000 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The $600 Billion Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed by Congress in December. Congress is currently debating another pandemic related relief act. The $1.9 trillion relief act/stimulus bill will likely pass in early March.  Even if the final amount passed is scaled down the benefit to Hinsdale should be huge.  The Bill currently under debate includes $350 billion to go to state governments to support schools and an additional $130 billion that is scheduled to go directly to K-12 public schools. Statewide, New Hampshire spent about $559 million on adequacy aid and fiscal disparity aid combined last year.

Our Director of Personalized Learning/Extended Learning Opportunities Director, Karen Thompson recently learned that a $250,000 “Out of School Time Career Pathways Program” grant was approved.  Hinsdale is one of only four districts in New Hampshire that are scheduled to receive these grant funds. We will receive the $250,000 award over five years. This grant will assist students in attaining credentialing and high-tech manufacturing in STEM related fields. This grant will allow our students to participate in paid internships while gaining skills and knowledge towards an industry recognized credential.

We continue to develop action plans to follow in order to accomplish the expectation described in the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Ensure that all students receive personalized guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.

Thanks to the “Out of School Time Career Pathways Program” grant written by our Director of Personalized Learning Karen Thompson.

This grant will assist Hinsdale students in attaining credentialing and high-tech manufacturing in STEM related fields.  This $250,000 Hinsdale grant will be accessed at $50,000 per year for five years. Plans call for the program to be established in collaboration with local industries. GS Precision will be one of the business involved in the process of developing curriculum and program requirements. Our goal is to allow students the opportunity to have a post-high school plan with credentialing and to move seamlessly into those positions.  Our program in Hinsdale will build upon our established ELO program and help to implement opportunities that are not always available in our current ELO structure.  Karen Thompson and I hope to meet area business leaders this spring to begin to build on our current partner list.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment has created a draft strategic plan which, if implemented, should help coordinate a smoother learning transition between HES and HMHS. Given the additional level of complexity due to the pandemic I am hopeful we can use grant funds to help us achieve this end.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings. There are many examples of needed training that should be grant fund eligible.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Once again newly available grant funds should help us achieve this end. The $250,000 grant written by Karen Thompson should also help us achieve this goal.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

Our Director of Personalized Learning wrote a $250,000 grant that was recently approved and should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

The School Board has met with the Hinsdale Budget Committee three times in 2021 and intends to be available for the public hearing on the budget at the Town Hall on Wednesday, February 3rd.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. Our administrative team plans to devote time at their February 10th meeting to work on this goal.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee agreed to recommend that $10,000 be placed in the 2021/2022 budget to fund our effort to reach this goal. The District Behavioral Support Team met on January 27th and has set their next meeting date of April 14th to continue to coordinate this effort.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities. Our pool of grant funds is significantly larger than in recent years.

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

We have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and zero incidents of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. We intend to bring a new Diversity Policy that has been vetted by our attorney to the April Board meeting.

Acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. We have a team in the process of developing an action plan to better celebrate student accomplishments, especially as the celebration illustrates diverse members of the student body.

  1. Personnel

Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

We have nine para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. The Para Negotiations Committee has come to an agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership. This agreement has be approved by the Board and ratified by the HSSA.  Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We anticipate receiving an addition $857,000 in the next month as a result of the stimulus bill passed by Congress in December. This Hinsdale grant will be the third grant resulting from the federal response to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds. We have not formulated an amount to recommend to the Board.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our third meeting in the past month with the Budget Committee was on February 1st.  Our public hearing on the Budget is scheduled for February 3rd.

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We will soon have available grant funds to cover our needs.

  1. Technology

Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.

Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are currently focusing on identifying the grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.  We will soon be able to use grant funds for additional training.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.  Board chair Sean Leary and Board member Kaylah Hemlow are scheduled to tour Hinsdale Elementary School on Friday,  February 19th.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction.